Today, President Trump tweeted: “I have been much tougher on Russia than Obama, just look at the facts.” Trump’s enemies may not like to read this, but the statement is true.
Jonah Goldberg, neither a friend nor an enemy of Trump, thinks so too. Having looked at the facts, he writes:
Barack Obama sold out our Eastern European allies on missile defense. He slow-walked aid to Ukraine and did little more than shrug when Crimea was annexed.
He said “never mind” on his own “red line” in Syria and turned a blind eye to Putin’s intervention there, in large part because of his obsessions with getting the Iran deal.
The Russian meddling in our elections started on Obama’s watch — and not just our elections but those of many of our allies. When Mitt Romney famously said Russia was our No. 1 geopolitical foe, Obama mocked him for it as did countless liberal journalists who are now converts to anti-Russia hawkery.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has made life harder for Russia diplomatically and economically thanks to revving up our oil and gas production. It hasn’t been as tough as some — including me — would like, but it’s been tougher than the Obama administration. Or at least it’s not unreasonable [to argue so].
Goldberg says that, though the Trump administration has been tough on Russia, “Trump himself has not been rhetorically tough.” He has does not “speak harshly about Vladimir Putin in a convincing way.”
Right again. But during his eight years as president, Obama rarely spoke harshly about Putin, either.
In any event, the administration’s actions towards Russia count for far more than its rhetoric towards Putin.
During her meeting today with the press, Sarah Sanders said that the administration has implemented an additional policy inimical to Russia’s interests. She didn’t describe the policy, saying instead that its nature will become clear during the next few weeks.
But even without any additional Trump administration policy, it is apparent that Trump has, indeed, been much tougher on Russia than Obama was.
To be sure, Russia wasn’t known to be interfering in U.S. elections until late in Obama’s second term. However, it had long before perpetuated enough evil, and shown itself sufficiently hostile to our interests, to merit a tough response from Obama.
None came, not even after the Obama administration learned of Russian meddling, until after the 2016 election. It’s a pitiful record, but not one that ever seemed to bother the Democrats or the liberal mainstream media.